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September 5, 2011


gadget geek

by Andrea O'Connell

I hope everyone had a wonderful Labor Day weekend.  I certainly did, but it went by much tooooo fast!

My weekend was all about family, reading, and playing with gadgets!

I’m kind of a geek when it comes to electronic gadgets.  I recently got a new Dell desk top that’s super fast and super nice to use.   I have a Dell laptop that’s only 3 years old, but it’s already very out of date.  To replace it, I’m thinking of getting a mini laptop.

The mini laptops are reasonably priced, starting at about $300.00.  Of course, if you fill it with a larger hard-drive and more RAM, it’s going to be around $660.00 to $800.00. approximately.  I priced them today.  I configured a Dell model with the most RAM and with the most powerful hard-drive I could find, and it turned out to be almost $800.00.  That’s a bit much to spend just to be able to sit on the couch and work!  I have decided to wait a bit.  If I do decide to go back to school, I’ll definitely purchase it.

I have a Motorola XOOM tablet that I love.  I chose the XOOM over the iPad2 because I have an iPhone and it’s the exact same thing, only larger.  The XOOM is an Android, which I had never used before.  It looks just like the iPad2, and is quite easy to use to surf the web, send emails, and update the blog.  It’s not much of a word processor – though it could be, I find it awkward to use in that regard. But, could use it in a pinch.

I also have a Nook Color that I wish I didn’t purchase because now the tablets – either Android or iPads – allow you to download the Nook, or the Kindle free of charge.  The best thing, I suppose, is when my battery dies on the XOOM, I can switch to the Nook, and vice versa.  And, the great thing is, they sync automatically, meaning they remember what page you were just reading on another device.

I purchased some new web/eLearning publishing software, too.  Because I work for a university I am able to use the educational discount, and its sometimes as much as 75 percent off the retail price.  I just got a new software called “Snap” by Lectora.  It allows you to turn PowerPoint presentations into a web-based tutorial with Flash animation, voice and video.  It’s really easy, too!

The Adobe Acrobat X Pro software just came in the mail Friday.  Adobe Pro is a great tool to create, edit, and transform a PDF document into an interactive form – you can also embed media into it.  I will have to learn how to take full advantage of all it can do – I am a novice with this one.   I also ordered a software bundle that hasn’t arrived yet.  It’s a software that is terrific to demonstrate how to navigate through a computer application, i.e. a specific series of steps that a user must do to accomplish a task.  It’s called Camtasia, and it’s bundled with Snag-It.  Camtasia uses a video program to record what is happening as a user types and navigates on the computer.  The Snag-It software is really cool, too.  It  allows you to capture pictures of your computer graphics to replicate – turns them into JPGs or PNGs, or whatever form of graphic you like to work with.

And then, yesterday, I finally got a GPS for my car! (It was an early birthday present!)   I absolutely love it!  It’s a Garmin Nuvi 1450LMT, and has real-time traffic reports, and maps of North America and Canada, too.

I can’t wait to use this tomorrow morning to get to work.  It will be nice to know where the traffic backups are beforehand.   I travel all highways to get to work, and now that the kids are all back in school, it’s murder to get to work.

According to the GPS, it should take me 14 minutes to get to work.  Hah!  It’s actually, on a good day, 40 minutes.

Speaking of work, tomorrow is almost here, so I’m heading for never-never land.

Before I go, I want to share with you my favorite quote that reminds me of Labor Day:

Sometimes it’s important to work for that pot of gold. But other times it’s essential to take time off and to make sure that your most important decision in the day simply consists of choosing which color to slide down on the rainbow.  (Douglas Pagels)

I try to do that everyday, in some small way.

3 Comments Post a comment
  1. Sep 6 2011

    Andrea, The mini laptops are nice because they are so portable but…..if you know someone that has one….try it for a day..the smaller keyboard can drive you nuts after having a full size one for years.

    Labor Day weekend capped off 10 days of fishing and crabbing. It has been an exceptional season in these parts. It’s still going on but am taking a couple days to catch up on other things and then go again!!!!

  2. Sep 6 2011

    Hi DP, You are right – they are really, really small.

    I found the one I want. It’s the HP DM1z. It has gotten incredible reviews and the display is 11.6′, which will help. The price starts out at about $450. After I customized it with what I want in it, the price is $650. It’s a super machine! I have to wait a couple of weeks before I buy another gadget!

    You fished for 10 days? It sounds like heaven to me! You’ve got to be up to your eyeballs in fish! I bet a Fish Fry is in the works!!


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